Hampton Elementary School

Hampton Elementary in Lutherville opened this school year 255 students above its capacity. (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna / April 15, 2013)

Councilman John Olszewski Sr. said he was "ecstatic" about the neighborhood projects and liked Kamenetz's focus.

"I'm glad to see that he's continuing to focus on public safety, public education and our aging infrastructure," said Olszewski, a Dundalk Democrat.

The plan calls for a 2.94 percent increase in spending for continuing county costs.

The County Council has the authority only to cut from the budget. Council Chairman Tom Quirk said he doesn't expect members to make significant alterations.

"In the past, the county executive has submitted such fiscally prudent budgets that we haven't found much fat to trim," said Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat. "I don't think there will be any major changes."

In a briefing before the budget release, Kamenetz told reporters the county has been able to keep the tax rates flat by streamlining government operations and increasing employee productivity.

He said county government has the smallest workforce in 25 years after cutting hundreds of positions through attrition, consolidation and early retirement.

Technology also has helped workers do more with less, he said.

The county also has saved through changes to employee benefit programs.

"The No. 1 savings factor has been our aggressive reform of our employee retirement and health care costs, that we have negotiated with our employees," he said.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for April 30, and the council is scheduled to adopt the budget May 23. The budget is for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Jon Meoli contributed to this article.

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